Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel proclaims 2018-2019 Year of the Teacher

OKLAHOMA CITY (Sept. 25, 2018) – Donna Gradel, 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, will officially launch her yearlong tour of Oklahoma this week, vowing to visit schools in all 77 counties by June 30.

Gradel has been speaking across the state since assuming her full-time Teacher of the Year duties July 1, but with the new school year now in full swing, her focus is connecting with teachers in their classrooms. On Wednesday, she will visit Putnam Heights Elementary in Oklahoma City Public Schools and Putnam City West High School in Putnam City Schools.

HofmeisterGradel“This is the ‘Year of the Teacher’ in Oklahoma,” Gradel said. “Despite a shortage of funds for over a decade, there are so many tremendous teachers in Oklahoma who remain devoted to providing the best possible learning opportunities for their students. They deserve to be recognized and respected for their hard work and commitment to excellence, and we must acknowledge the power of teaching and the positive impact our teachers are having across the state.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister applauded Gradel on her initiative.

“It is no surprise that Donna Gradel, in her role as Oklahoma’s ambassador of teaching, has chosen to focus on her colleagues this year,” she said. “The best teachers always put others first, and we are looking forward to learning about the amazing teachers Donna spotlights during her Year of the Teacher.”



Gradel aims to celebrate exceptional teacher initiatives or education projects through social media and to personally encourage teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, especially emergency-certified teachers who are new to the classroom.

“I hope to meet as many educators as possible to express gratitude and appreciation for their dedication,” said Gradel, who uses the hashtag #yearoftheteacherOK. “I want to hear their concerns and highlight their achievements.”

An environmental science teacher from Broken Arrow High School, Gradel has already visited a few schools in northeastern Oklahoma.

“One commonality I have found, regardless of grade level, socio-economics or geographical setting, is optimism. There is an underlying theme that the tide is changing and the needle is moving in the right direction,” Gradel said.

The Oklahoma Teacher of the Year remains in the classroom until the next school year. Becky Oglesby, a Yukon elementary art teacher, was named the 2019 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year at a Sept. 18 ceremony at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. She will begin her tour the state July 1.

Follow Gradel on Twitter @GradelBAHS. Read her blog at http://sde.ok.gov/sde/newsblogs/otoy. To request a visit, email her at Donna.Gradel@sde.ok.gov.



PHOTOS: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister presents 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year with a proclamation of the award at a ceremony in September 2017. Gradel kicks off her yearlong tour of Oklahoma schools this week.

2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel, center, visits with teachers in Sapulpa. She has proclaimed 2018-2019 the “Year of the Teacher.”

2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel, right, eats lunch with teachers at the Union Eighth Grade Center in Tulsa.

Back to Top
Share This Page!
Last updated on September 25, 2018